It’s hard to imagine a childhood without music. Imagine young schoolchildren singing and dancing in a circle, giggling and exuding sheer joy. Music helps children develop coordination, goal-setting and concentration. Plus, there is a fully body of research showing that kids who are actively involved in music are better at reading, math and science.
But many schoolchildren today are not benefiting from music programs at school because funding for music education has been eliminated from their budgets. Schools have had to make hard choices and unfortunately, one of these choices has been to eliminate their music and arts budget.
Enter Damon Marks, a lifelong musician and New Jersey resident who is keenly aware of this problem. Damon has been playing guitar since the age of ten and has made a career as a professional guitarist. Damon recalls that music helped him through tough times when he was a child. “It helped me find my friends and get involved and ease the pain I was going through. If I hadn’t found music, fellow band mates and fans, I might have found drugs or alcohol or who knows what else. I want kids today to have that same chance to connect to music in such a meaningful, creative way.”
Damon decided to do something about the struggle schools have to keep music and creative programs afloat. In 2010, he created the Traveling Guitar Foundation to bring music back into schools with inadequate music funding. Damon takes his show on the road to elementary, middle and high schools where he performs and engages the children in his performance. The program supplies schools with free guitars, equipment and a curriculum that does not require musical training for any teacher.
Damon started by bringing his music program to New York City area schools, including eight schools in Elizabeth, New Jersey where he attended school growing up. To date, the Foundation has donated over 400 new guitars, amplifiers, various types of percussion, instrument cables and a guitar learning curriculum to over 100 schools in the US and abroad, positively impacting over 30,000 students.
The Foundation is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that receives its funding from the generous donations of performing artists and corporate sponsors. These sponsors and the members of the foundation are committed to the mission of making a difference in children’s lives through music.
Individual contributors are a very important part of making the foundation succeed. If you feel that music is important and has impacted your life in a positive way, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support the work of the Traveling Guitar Foundation. You might change a life.